Winthrop cheerleaders finish as one of the top squads in the nation
The Winthrop High School football cheerleading squad made its mark at the National Championships in Florida, finishing in 11th place out of 70 squads from across the country.
Head coach Rachel Mustone said 15 WHS students competed in the event that was held at the Jostens Center, a sports arena located in ESPNâ€™s Wide World of Sports Complex that is part of the Walt Disney World Resort. The first day of competition was held at the Indiana Jones Theater.
The Winthrop squad had finished fifth in the Mass. state finals. The basketball cheerleading squad, also under Mustoneâ€™s direction, took fourth place in the state finals.
â€œThis has been our most successful season,â€ Mustone, who is in her fourth year as head coach. â€œWe had 10 great seniors on our fall cheerleading squad, seven on our winter squad.â€
Mustone said it was that â€œfantastic senior leadershipâ€ and excellent teamwork that helped the program reach new heights.
â€œBetween the leadership of the seniors and the talent of the underclassmen, the team got along very well,â€ said Mustone. â€œThey were all able to accept that everyone had a different role. They were all able to encourage each other. There was no jealousy at all. Everything was very sincere and everyone wanted to help each other get to the next level.â€
The coach said all of her athletes were committed to one goal.
â€œSometimes when you have younger girls, they donâ€™t really understand what the goal really means, but I feel everybody in general really understood and had their eyes on the prize. There were no issues. It was an easy year in the sense that we could focus on the skills and getting to where we needed to be and not so much the little things, the arguments and what not.â€
Mustone stood firm behind her decision not to have captains for the squad.
â€œWe didnâ€™t have captains because there were so many seniors who I felt had great leadership roles and they all could understand that someone had something to give,â€ said Mustone. â€œEveryone had something different that they could add or bring to the table.â€
The squad brought together students who were gifted in dance, gymnastics, and sheer athletic ability.
â€œWe had a mixture of some girls who were dancers in the past. We had a couple of girls come from gymnastics backgrounds. We had one swimmer, track runners, softball players. They came from everywhere and I honestly thing that helps. They have a taste of different workouts and different skills.â€
Mustone said she is looking forward to returning to lead the cheerleading squads for the 2014-15 season.
Veteran WHS softball team readying for season
With nine varsity players returning from last yearâ€™s squad that went 14-6 in theÂ¬â€ regular season and reached the semifinals of the North Sectional of the Division 3 state tourney, head coach Dave Guffey and his Winthrop High softball team are looking forward to both the start of the 2014 campaign and the arrival of warmer weather conducive to outdoor activity.
â€œWe lost one starter to graduation, but everybody else is back,â€ said Guffey. â€œOther than the lack of cooperation from the weather, everything is going well thus far in the pre-season. The girls are working hard and eager to start playing for real.â€
The Lady Vikings have played two scrimmages thus far, taking on Triton at the indoor Strike One facility last Thursday and thenÂ¬â€ hosting Whittier, the team thatÂ¬â€ knocked Winthrop outÂ¬â€ of the tourney in 2013, on Tuesday.
The Lady Vikings won the former contest by a 1-0 score and the latter by a 2-1 margin.
WHS ace pitcher Maura Lanza, a returning Northeastern Conference all-star, was on fire in both encounters. The junior hurled half of both contests, striking out seven enemy batters vs. Triton and fanning four of theÂ¬â€ nine she faced vs. Whittier.
In Â¬â€ addition, sophomore Taylor Thomas, who will be returning at third base, also was immenselyÂ¬â€ impressive on the mound, Â¬â€ striking out 10Â¬â€ opponents in the seven innings she pitched in the two games. The duo of Lanza and Thomas figure toÂ¬â€ provide Guffey with one of the top pitching combos in the Northeastern Conference.
Other returning players are senior Jen Adamson, a four year starter, who is a returning NEC all-star at catcher; seniorÂ¬â€ shortstop Michelle Lasala, another NEC all-star; seniorÂ¬â€ left fielder Kelly Swanson;Â¬â€ senior first baseman Amanda Pelletier; junior Christine Haskell, whoâ€™ll play in theÂ¬â€ outfield and at secondÂ¬â€ base; sophomore Olivia Grillo,Â¬â€ whoâ€™ll play atÂ¬â€ second and inÂ¬â€ the outfield; and sophomore Ally Scarfo, who can play inÂ¬â€ right fieldÂ¬â€ and in the infield.
Among the newcomers to the team are sophomore outfielder Alexis Joyce;Â¬â€ sophomore infielder Jaida Hightower; freshman Maddie Fingaâ€™a, who can play outfield, third base, and catcher; andÂ¬â€ freshman infielder/outfielder Regina Garufo.
As usual, Guffey has a busy pre-season agenda for his team,Â¬â€ though the forecast for awful springÂ¬â€ weather will be the big X-factor. The Lady Vikings wereÂ¬â€ scheduled to play at Everett today (Thursday) and then journey to Mashpee for the annual Cape Cod tourney this weekend,Â¬â€ playing three mini-games onÂ¬â€ both Saturday and Sunday.
They will host St. Maryâ€™s of Lynn and Masconomet for a tri-scrimmage Wednesday and trek to Winchester next Saturday morning.
The season-opener originally was scheduled for Monday, April 7, at home vs. non-league foe Georgetown, butÂ¬â€ thatÂ¬â€ contest was rescheduled to April 24. The Lady Vikings now will open their 2014 campaign on Wednesday, April 9, whenÂ¬â€ theyÂ¬â€ host Marblehead.
Winthrop U10A girls hockey team wins state title
The Winthrop U10A girls hockey team is the 2014 State champion.
The setting for the title run was Waltham, MA at Veterans Arena located on Totten Pond Rd.Â 8 District Championship teams from Mass got together for a chance for the youth hockeyâ€™s ultimate prize, and when it was all over Sunday night, the â€œdynamic dozenâ€ wearing the Vikings Blue and Gold were collecting the towns 5th State Title in its rich youth hockey history.Â This one was particularly special, because it is the 1st ever won by an ALL girls team.Â The competition was fierce with teams from Needham, Natick, Canton, Andover, Falmouth, Pembroke, Arlington, and Winthrop rounding out the 8 team field.Â The tournament was broken into 2 Divisions with the 1st and 2nd place finishers moving on for the semi-finals on Sunday morning.
In Winthropâ€™s Division there was Needham, Falmouth, and Pembroke.Â In the tournament opener the Vikings took on Needham and despite a heavy shot advantage the Vikings fell 4-2 after Needham put one into the Vikings empty net.Â The Vikings now had to win out or their quest for a very elusive prize would be over.Â On Saturday morning the Vikings had to battle Falmouth.Â It was clear from the out set that the Vikings were looking for redemption from the Needham game.Â They jumped on their foes from the South Shore early on, and got goals from Gemma Dimento, Ava Alioto, Julia Holmes, Sophia Kennedy, Jenna Dorr, and Elle English on their way to a 10 â€“ 0 route.Â In the night cap the Vikings would see another South Shore team from Pembroke and the Winthrop goaltender Summer Tallent would make sure the Vikings would be playing on Sunday by registering her second shutout of the tourney, and the 16th of the season.Â The Vikings rolled to a 4-0 win on goals from Gemma Dimento, Emma Holmes, Maura Dorr and Mia Martucci.Â With the Pembroke win the Vikings secured their spot in the semi â€“ finals on Sunday Morning.Â Their second place finish would have them facing the first place team from the other division which consisted of Arlington, Andover, Canton, and Natick.Â The Vikings would take on Arlington while Needham would face Canton.Â The semi-final game would prove to be a thriller as Arlington came out swinging and scored the 1st goal just 2:30 in.Â The Vikings were dominating but could not solve the Arlington goaltender until late in period 2 when Gemma Dimento took a nice feed from Emma Holmes and snapped it bar down over the Arlington goalies shoulder.Â The game stayed knotted at one through 3 periods.Â It would take overtime to produce a winner and with just over 7 minutes left to play the Vikings were called for a too many players on the ice penalty.Â After an Arlington timeout, the power play began, and in the blink of an eye Ava Alioto poked a puck free from the Arlington defense sending Gemma Dimento off to the races from the Vikings blue line in.Â With an Arlington player in pursuit, Dimento pushed the puck ahead, and made a quick move to her left, and then sent a quick back hand shot to the right that beat the Arlington goalie for the sudden death victory.Â The Viking faithful in attendance went berserk, and the Vikings were moving into the State Finals!
Coach Martucci had this to say about Gemma Dimentoâ€™s heroics:Â â€œDuring the time out I told them not to sit back, to be very aggressive.Â That is not something you have to tell Gemma twice.Â It was one of the prettiest back handed goals I have ever seen!â€ As if things were not going well enough for the Vikings, after the overtime win, the other #2 seed Canton upset Needham in overtime in the other semi-final game.
So it was set, a battle of the second place finishers for Girls Mass State Hockey supremacy.Â If the Vikings were to come out of Waltham with the crown, they would have to go through the bulldogs to do it.Â With so much at stake, the tension was high in the Vikings locker room.Â The 3 coaches; Mark Tallent, Bob Dimento and Anthony Martucci assured them that they had what it takes to get it done, and the Vikings took the ice with their eyes and minds focused on the task at hand.Â After a few up and down shifts, it was plain to see that the Vikings had more jump than the bulldogs of Canton and nobody had more jump than Vikings defenseman Sophia Kennedy, whose top corner goal gave the Vikings a 1-0 lead at the end of the 1st period.Â In the second period the Vikings took over, as Brynn MacPherson, Ava Alioto, Maura Dorr, Emma and Julia Holmes, Mia Martucci, Gemma Dimento all were relentless on the attack.Â The Vikings defense was no less dominant allowing very few shots were Sophia Kennedy, Brooke Costin, Elle English, and Jenna Dorr.Â Once again standing tall in the net Summer Tallent would not allow anything to get by.Â The Vikings would grab another in the second off the stick of sniper
Gemma Dimento, and with 2 periods in the books the Vikings held a 2-0 lead with only one period of hockey standing between them and the title.Â The Vikings were urged by their coaches to close the show, and that is just what they did when with 7 minutes to play Sophia Kennedy struck again to make it 3-0 off Brynn MacPhersonâ€™s second assist of the game.Â The Vikings were in complete command the rest of the way and with 1:40 left to play they struck again when Mia Martucci closed out the scoring in the State Tourney to make it 4-0.Â As the rest of the time ticked away the Viking fans were buzzing and the building was rocking.Â You could hear the crowd count down the final seconds and the Vikings jammed together in a celebratory pig pile on the goalie Summer Tallent who recorded her 3rd shutout of the tourney.Â The crowd screamed through the handing out of the championship medals and then the State Championship Plaque, which was skated by all 12 Vikings over to the supportive group as a show of appreciation for all of their support.Â Gemma Dimento the semi-final game hero summed it up pretty well when she said, â€œThis is like the ultimate Christmas present, only Santa didnâ€™t bring it we earned it!â€Â The MVP of the final game, Sophia Kennedy said, â€œIt was a team effortâ€ while Ava Alioto and Mia Martucci sang in unison â€œWe Are The Championsâ€.
The U10A Girls State Championship team would like to THANK all the parents who supported us and also would like to thank Steve Rogers and the entire Winthrop Youth Hockey board.Â Another special thanks to the Winthrop Police, for the rolling rally police escor,t through the town.
12 girls, 10 year olds made history and Mark Tallent said it best when he repeated the words of Flyers coach Fred Shero â€œTODAY WE WALK TOHETHER FOREVERâ€